A MAN from Overton is encouraging people to sign up and save a life on World Kidney Day today (Thursday).

March 14 marks World Kidney Day, and 90-year-old Nicholas Crace, who donated a kidney to a stranger seven years ago, is asking others to consider whether they could ‘share their spare.’

A person donating a kidney to someone they do not already know on the national transplant waiting list is known as non-directed (altruistic) living kidney donation.

Nicholas donated his kidney in 2012 at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth and has since become an active campaigner in raising awareness of non-directed donation.

Nicholas said: “There are currently nearly 5,000 people waiting for a kidney in the UK, and around 250 people die each year in need of one.

“With so much news about the new opt out system around deceased donation, I’m using the opportunity of World Kidney Day to remind people that they do not have to be deceased to donate, they can potentially help someone now.

“Donating a kidney was probably the most worthwhile thing I have done in my life.

“There are few actions one can take in life that are so unequivocally useful. To find out more visit giveakidney.org”

Any healthy adult can volunteer to be assessed as a living donor and a kidney from a living donor is the best treatment option for most patients with kidney diseases.

The volunteer donor goes through a thorough assessment over several months to ensure they are fit and healthy and that the risk to them is as low as possible.

If approved, they are matched with a suitable high priority recipient from the transplant waiting list, or they are entered into a national sharing scheme which enables one non-directed donor to potentially ‘trigger’ up to three transplants.

Lisa Burnapp, lead nurse for Living Donation at NHS Blood and Transplant said: “Living donation is highly successful, and hundreds of people have had their lives saved and transformed, thanks to the generosity of these donors.

“Non-directed altruistic donors really are the game changers in the kidney sharing scheme. Particularly for the difficult to transplant patients, they make the world of difference.”

To find out more about the scheme, go to giveakidney.org, and to find out more about post-death organ donation, visit organdonation.nhs.uk.